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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Datical Talks Digital Transformation and Database Release Automation


I recently spoke with Robert Reeves, co-founder and CTO at Datical, a leading provider of database release automation solutions.  I reached out to Robert to discuss what the biggest delays to digital transformation initiatives are and to find out how he is working to solve them with database release automation at Datical.  

VMblog:  Tell us about Datical.  Give readers a bit more information about what you do.

Robert Reeves:  Datical's mission is to radically improve and simplify the application release process by modernizing and automating the database release process. Our solutions deliver the automation capabilities technology executives need to remove database deployments as a barrier to delivering new application innovation. With Datical, enterprises can shorten the time it takes to bring application innovation to market while eliminating the security vulnerabilities, costly errors, data loss and downtime often associated with current database deployment methods. We deliver results for some of the world's most admired companies including Sony, GE Transportation, Unum and NBCUniversal.

VMblog:  You're not only the CTO at Datical, but also a co-founder.  Why did you start this company?

Reeves:  To change the world. We don't sell software; we sell piano recitals, little league games, and date nights with your special someone. It is absolutely criminal that we are asking our Database Administrators (DBAs) and other database professionals to just "work harder" to support the avalanche of application changes coming from development. Sure, we all want to solve the database bottleneck and be commercially successful, but we have a mission at Datical to make this a better world. We've chosen Database Release Automation as our field of battle.

VMblog:  Earlier this year, IDG conducted (and Datical commissioned) a survey to understand the impact of accelerated application release cycles on database change frequency, DBA productivity and data security.  What were some of the findings?

Reeves:  The research findings indicate that database administrators are unable to keep up with the pace and frequency of database changes caused by the accelerated pace of application releases, thus creating a bottleneck and delaying digital transformation initiatives. An overwhelming number of databases administrators (91 percent) and application development mangers (90 percent) cited database updates as the cause for application release delays.

As the rate of change to applications increase, so does the rate of changes to the databases that applications rely on. The majority of database administrators stated the length of time needed to complete a change request has increased in the last year. On top of this, the growing pace of database releases has led to an increase in errors that could lead to poor application performance, application downtime or even worse insecure data. Thirty percent of IT executives cited an increase in error rates in production applications caused by bad databases changes in the past year.

Despite the ability to build, test and deliver new and innovative applications capabilities faster, a similar level of proficiency does not exist when it comes to releasing database schema changes. As a result, the entire application release process grinds to a halt. Recognizing the importance of treating database code just like application code, a majority of respondents stated that they see the benefits adopting database automation to help speed the delivery of application releases and solve these challenges.

VMblog:  What do these results mean to Datical as a company?

Reeves:  These results mean that Information Technology is realizing how enormous this problem is. When more than 90 percent of DBAs and application development managers state our current database change process is broken, shame on us as an industry for not listening. With realization of the problem comes a desire to change and improve. And that's exactly what we are going to do for our customers.

VMblog:  How can DBAs become DBAs of the future?

Reeves:  I can definitely say how to be DBA of the past: keep doing things the way you have. Don't try to improve. Stick to your 72-hour service-level agreements.
It's 2017. Our development teams are moving fast and we need to support that high rate of change. Through automation, DBAs can have an enormous impact on how quickly software gets into the hands of customers. Once that way has been cleared to be safe and fast, DBAs of the future can explore areas such as cloud, performance, analytics, and cognition. These are all driven by data and that's something the DBAs of today know inside and out. By applying their hard-earned skills to these new areas, they easily become the DBA of the future.

VMblog:  What are the plans for Datical in the year ahead?

Reeves:  Grow, grow, grow. We're helping more companies and hiring more Daticals. The database market is going to be well over $34B this year and, according to Gartner, it will be $45B by 2020. There are a ton more people we need to help and we're going to do exactly that.
With our soon-to-be released cloud offering and our ever expanding support for more RDBMS platforms and NoSQL platforms, Datical is going to be able to help more and more people over the coming year.


As Chief Technology Officer, Robert Reeves advocates for Datical's customers and provides technical architecture leadership. Prior to co-founding Datical, Robert was a Director at the Austin Technology Incubator. At ATI, he provided real world entrepreneurial expertise to ATI member companies to aid in market validation, product development and fundraising efforts. Robert cofounded Phurnace Software in 2005. He invented and created the flagship product, Phurnace Deliver, which provides middleware infrastructure management to multiple Fortune 500 companies. As Chief Technology Officer for Phurnace, he led technical evangelism efforts, product vision and large account technical sales efforts. After BMC Software acquired Phurnace in 2009, Robert served as Chief Architect and lead worldwide technology evangelism.

Robert Reeves 

Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 6:35 AM by David Marshall
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